Humana Leaves Obamacare in 2018, Republicans Are Flat-Footed

The Obamacare death spiral continues as Humana announced yesterday that it is dropping out of all state exchanges beginning in 2018. It shouldn’t be a shock considering the well-known volatility and instability of the exchanges. Unfortunately, Republicans appear to be flat-footed in their plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act as they promised, and there appears to be considerable rifts within the party about how exactly to tackle the issue.

After the Aetna/Humana merger was blocked by a federal judge, Humana was forced to make a choice about their participation in state exchanges moving forward. While they will continue their commitments through 2017, there are a number of Obamacare exchange participants that will be left without a carrier in 2018.

Per The Hill’s article:

Humana scaled back its exchange participation to 11 states and 156 counties in 2017, down from 1,351 counties in 19 states the previous year.

The withdrawal will have a big impact in Tennessee, where it is the only exchange insurer in several countries.

Humana is also one of only two insurers in dozens of counties in states like Mississippi and Georgia.

President Trump promised to tackle the ACA immediately after taking office, and at this point, it would serve as a great way to regain ground after a tumultuous couple weeks. Between the poorly rolled out executive order on immigration, and now the sudden resignation of Michael Flynn, the administration needs to bring their focus back on policy.

There should be a concerted effort on behalf of the White House to guide Congress toward an effective and efficient repeal of the ACA. Where is the Republican leadership on this issue? Where is the party cohesion that the Democrats execute so well? With the May 2017 deadline looming for carriers to prepare their plans for 2018, there are merely 12-14 weeks for Congress to bring stability and predictability to the health insurance markets.

Outside of fulfilling promises made to their supporters, Republicans owe it to Americans of both parties to fix the sinking ship that is the ACA… and fast!

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Matt Christensen

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